Monday, June 29, 2020

An Interview with Jackie Curtiss - Part Eight

Kliph Nesteroff: You were close friends with Dave Madden. People know him from Laugh-In and the Partridge Family, but not his stand-up career.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, that's how he got started. He was a stand-up comic and he met a guy named Marshall Edson who became his manager. Marshall owned Ye Little Club, which was a small place in Beverly Hills.

He went in there for a long time and then while he was there he got a sitcom called Camp Runamuck. That didn't last, but from that he got on Laugh-In. Dave was always doing stand-up in between.

Of course, Laugh-In put him over the top. He was a really, really funny guy and very offbeat. He was quiet and he did a lot of subtle things. He did a bit about smoking where he says he has been smoking a very long time - but not very much. He'd pull out a package of World War Two era Lucky's and never comment on it. So you had to be hip to catch the stuff he did.

Kliph Nesteroff: Ye Little Club was where Joan Rivers worked when she was on the West Coast.

Jackie Curtiss: A lot of stars went in there to work out. Sometimes there wasn't even a piano, only a bass. It was very, very tiny. I worked there for a while when they needed a host. A lot of stars would go in and perform for a couple weeks to try out new material.

When I had my nightclub at Beverly and Pico, the Trolly Ho, Dave Madden heard about it. He walked in off the street and introduced himself. At the Trolly Ho, at the end of the night, I'd introduce whatever stars were in attendance and ask them if they would like to get up.

Dave got up and that's how we first got to know each other. We became fast friends. I went through a terrible divorce and then ended up living with him. We were roommates for a couple of years. He was one of my best friends over the years. He was fantastic. Hard to get along with because he's so eccentric - but you can't help but love him.

Kliph Nesteroff: By the late 1980s he had sort of disappeared from view. Did he basically retire?

Jackie Curtiss: He is the definition of the word curmudgeon. Well, yes, he retired, but when you say retired to him... he still did things. He did tremendous voice overs. He put in a fibre-optic line direct into his house so that he could do it through any phone. He did commercials over the phone and never had to go into any studio.

He was big in that industry. They were often looking for people "with a Dave Madden voice." He lived in Florida. When I got letters from him they were marked Maddenville, Florida. I thought, "Dave Madden moved to a town named Maddenville? I do not understand."

He explained it to me, "Jackie, your mail is delivered based on the zip code, not the name of the town. You can put Curtissville, California on a letter and as long as you have the right zip code it will get there." So that was just his sense of humor. Nothing, no matter how mundane, was ever normal with him.

Kliph Nesteroff: Do you remember a comedian named Dave Astor?

Jackie Curtiss: Dave Astor did a lot of stuff in the south. I met him a couple of times. He was very funny as I remember. Actually, he was one of those people who came into the Trolly Ho who I brought up onstage.

Kliph Nesteroff: You were one of the main Playboy Club comedians.

Jackie Curtiss: I opened eight or nine of their clubs.

Kliph Nesteroff: Another comedian who was always associated with the Playboy Club was also named Jackie. I'm speaking of Jackie Gayle.

Jackie Curtiss: Absolutely. He was their number one guy long before I got there. He was a really brilliant comic, but he was also probably the most brilliant pain in the ass you could ever meet. He made enemies out of everybody.

First of all, he was a very good Jewish comedian, but he was jealous of everybody. He had been Hef's favorite mascot. When I came into Playboy with my partner we, for some reason, became Hef's number one. And Jackie Gayle resented us for it.

So he started saying things about me in his act about how I wasn't a nice guy. I had never even met him! We came into Chicago two days early. The way the Playboy Club worked in Chicago... they had two showrooms and a living room, which was the template they had later for their other places. It was a real work house.

When you went in there for a week, you did three shows Monday through Thursday. Four on Friday and Saturday and five on Sunday. I mean, you'd start the shows in the afternoon. You worked the playroom while at the same time, in the penthouse, there was another act doing their thing with a trio.

When they finished, the comic and trio would come downstairs. And then you would go upstairs and do that room. So they had tandem shows going, two different acts, all night long. Because of that, the Playboy Clubs made a lot of money.

So my partner and I went in to see Jackie Gayle at the Playboy Club when we first arrived in town. I was really taken with him because his act was really very good. He came offstage and I walked up to him and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Gayle?" He said, "Yeth?" He had a lisp. I said, "What's your problem?" He looked at me, "Wha?" I said, "Yeah! That's right! I said - what's your problem? Why are you bad mouthing me all over the place?"

He said, "I don't even know who the hell you are!" I said, "Yeah, that makes it all the worse! I'm Jackie Curtiss." Well, of course, his eyes popped wide open. He had already heard about my reputation for being a scrapper. I took no shit from anybody. I would punch first and that was it.

All of a sudden he was, "Oh, oh, oh, come now, this is all a mistake. I was just joking..." I said, "I don't know what your fucking problem is, but it stops now. If one more word gets back to me, I will come to you and you won't be able to do your stupid fucking act."

From that point on we were like friendly enemies. It was always courteous, but he wasn't too great a guy. I shouldn't say anything bad about Jackie, but... nobody liked him. He's dead now and was a great comic so... whatever... my personal thing... my association with him... it doesn't mean anything anyway.

He really had a lot of enemies. Lenny loved him. Hef loved him. The people at Playboy loved him and he had his following. He was a really good comic, but it just burned him up that we opened all the clubs for Hef instead of him.

Kliph Nesteroff: He was very close with Lenny Bruce.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, he was the closest. He was closer to Lenny than anyone. Even though I used to babysit Lenny's daughter. Lenny and Jackie were absolutely close - and with Lenny's mother too - Sally Marr.

Kliph Nesteroff: When I phoned you last year, Stan Irwin, the former entertainment director of the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, was at your house.

Jackie Curtiss: I talk to Stan Irwin a couple times a month. I think he's now ninety-eight. He's still working. He works at Costco.

Kliph Nesteroff: Yeah, you mentioned that. That's so strange. I guess it's a good reason to get out of the house and stay active?

Jackie Curitss: No, not at all! About ten years ago a manager wiped him out. Took off with everything. Stan had been so wealthy because of Las Vegas. He was with the Sahara from the very beginning. I knew Stan when he was the house booker at the Sahara. Didn't you interview him recently?

Kliph Nesteroff: Yeah, I spoke with him last year, but was curious as to his health.

Jackie Curtiss: Boy, he's better than me. He's out every week working at Costco. He's behind one of those things and says, "Come on over, we got this juicer, check it out and drink this sample."

Kliph Nesteroff: My God. Where is this Costco? Does he walk there?

Jackie Curtiss: He drives! I tell you, he's better than me! I'm eighty-six and struggling with the walker.

Kliph Nesteroff: When did you first meet Lenny Bruce?

Jackie Curtiss: I met Lenny Bruce in San Francisco when I was still a singer with the Jack Fina Orchestra. An acquaintance introduced me. I was a singer before I became a comic. When I became a comedian I got in touch with Lenny to tell him I was doing comedy now. Through the years we would meet for a bite to eat.

I must say, there were some things that Lenny did that were just...  I don't know. After the Playboy Club closed for the night we would meet at the Thunderbird Cafe. It was downstairs from the Playboy Club and I'd meet him there in the morning. He was working two or three clubs around Los Angeles at the time.

Kliph Nesteroff: When you met him - you were still a band singer. Was he still an impressionist?

Jackie Curtiss: Yes. He was doing a pretty staid act. He had just met Honey. I never met her. Even when I babysat for them it was a thing where they both had to work that night and I just ended up with the baby.

Kliph Nesteroff: Did you know Pat Morita when he was a stand-up comedian? He was managed by Lenny Bruce's mother.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, he was a very funny little guy and I gave him a couple of jokes. I gave him a line, "You know, December 7th is my high holidays." He was on marijuana all the time. He said he had a kinship with Tony Bennett - who was also high all of the time.

Kliph Nesteroff: That wasn't as uncommon in those days as people think, though.

Jackie Curtiss: It wasn't that uncommon, but you didn't usually say it out loud.

Kliph Nesteroff: Pat Morita talked about being high onstage?

Jackie Curtiss: He was high all the time. He would come onstage smoking a joint. People thought it was a gag. They didn't realize what it was.

Pat Morita got his break through Sally Marr. He was managed by Sally and that's how he became close with Lenny. Sally had all these comics. Pat Morita was her Japanese stand-up comic and Hank Oser was her Mexican comic. I think Hank Oser had been a ventriloquist originally. He was a comedian you'd see around Reno or Tahoe.

Sally Marr had two or three comics that she pushed on the Playboy circuit and Pat Morita was one of them. He had a unique act. His gimmick was "The Hip Nip." He called himself "The Hip Nip" and did jokes about being Japanese.

He was a regular Playboy Club comedian along with Jackie Gayle and the Professor Irwin Corey. I talked to Irwin Corey when he was ninety-nine. He asked me how old I was. I told him eighty-six. He said, "Eighty-six? Aw shit, that's not even old! If I was eighty-six I'd be humping!"

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs) Your last gig with your comedy partner Bill Tracy was at the Playboy Club.

Jackie Curtiss: Yeah, it was really good as far as shows went, but it was also very sad. I needed to go do my own thing, but Bill was begging me after the second show, "Jackie, please. Can't we do six more months together?" I said, "Bill, it's Saturday and on Monday night I am opening at Playboy in Denver. It's over." That was it. It took two or three years for him to get back on track. He really resented it and held it against me. His wife had a baby that was stillborn after that and he blamed me. We got through it though and made up later. He joined the Modernaires and we were still good friends when he died.

And Irwin Corey - I'm grateful to you, Kliph, for putting us back in touch. Irwin and I became fast friends when we were booked together many times at the Playboy Clubs. He'd be playing in one room and I in the other, but we lost touch over the years. One of the other Playboy regulars was Jeremy Vernon. He looked like a poor man's Cary Grant. He was excellent and did wonderful impressions.

Kliph Nesteroff: When you were running the Los Angeles Playboy Club - were you in charge of booking the acts?

Jackie Curtiss: Yes. They were going to close the club and so I flew to Chicago and I got Hef's permission to take charge of it. I booked all male singers. The reason I did that was, I figured, you go to the Playboy Club - as soon as you open the door you get hit with tits and ass and there's nothing for women to look at. So I booked nothing but handsome guy singers. That's how I got stuck with that ass I told you about - Kenny Colman. But for the most part, the male singer policy really worked.

I would put the singer on, then I'd get up and do twenty minutes, and then I'd introduce the guests in the audience. One night alone I had Sammy Davis Jr., Count Basie, and David Janssen all onstage at the same time. Some of my friends like Redd Foxx would swing by to break in new stuff. Redd would come in twice a week and get up. The year I took over I put them back in the black and saved the room. They were planning on closing it down right before I got there.

Kliph Nesteroff: What do you remember about Redd Foxx's nightclub? It was originally the popular Slate Brothers club on La Cienega. Redd Foxx took it over in 1967.

Jackie Curtiss: Redd didn't do that well with it because he was not a good businessman. He didn't really know how to run it. It was kind of "heavy Black" and a lot of white people avoided it because of that. This was the time of Black Power and stuff like that.

When the Slate Brothers ran it, they did an excellent job. They were also the ones who fired Lenny Bruce after his first joke. That was a famous incident. Redd was just not a good businessman. He was great onstage and that was it. 

Kliph Nesteroff: You wanted me to remind you about Phil Harris the next time we spoke...

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, I wanted to tell you that story about Phil Harris and Tony Martin. Phil Harris and Tony Martin were playing golf once and Phil Harris asked him, "Tony, do you know my wife, Alice?" He said, "Know her? Phil! I was married to her." This is true! Phil Harris didn't realize his own wife had been married to Tony Martin. That's such a wild thing. "Do I know her? I was married to her!"

I had a situation with Tony Martin when I did The Steve Allen Show. I was sitting on the couch during commercial and Tony Martin spots this blonde sitting in the front row. He leans into me and says, "Hey, Jackie, check out that blonde. Boy, I'd like to fuck her!" I said, "Would you like to meet her?" He said, "Oh, you know her?" I said, "That's my wife."

He goes, "Jackie, oh my God, I'm so sorry! Please, Jackie..." I said, "No, no, Tony, don't worry about it, it's a compliment." But Tony Martin, boy... I never could figure him out. He was a big star and every song he did in the 1940s was a hit. He was so handsome. But people barely know his name today.

Kliph Nesteroff: February 1958 you played the Henry Grady Hotel in Atlanta.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, the Henry Grady was a big hotel down there. That was with Marc Antone and we worked it twice as Antone and Curtiss. I had an experience there when I finished a show. This person invited me over for a drink. Down south it was nice people with a horrible attitude about what they called "colored people." They would use a vocabulary that was... very bad. I'm sitting there with this Southerner and he says, "I gotta tell ya boy, you do some great impressions. You know who does great impressions? You ever see that Sammy Davis Jr? Now there is a talented [N-word]." 

He didn't dislike Sammy Davis Jr., but this was how he talked. This was a hard thing for me to adjust to when we played the south because you would hear it all the time. While we were at the Henry Grady, we heard that Johnny Mathis got secretly engaged to a gay actor. They exchanged rings onstage at a nearby club, but nobody knew it.

Kliph Nesteroff: The name of the club at the Henry Grady was the Paradise and it was managed by a guy named Lark Bragg.

Jackie Curtiss: Yeah, it was a hard job. You did two shows a night in the Paradise Room and then you had to do a matinee on Saturdays for women and kids. They did the same thing at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. If they booked you for a week, you also had to do an extra matinee for kids.

Kliph Nesteroff: That sounds terrible.

Jackie Curtiss: It was easy for me because I did impressions and I performed in short pants. So it was kind of a funny thing for kids to see a grown man dressed like a little boy. Of course, I did specific material that would appeal to kids.

Kliph Nesteroff: That's would be a tough job for most of the comedians coming through there. I can't imagine Don Rickles or Jackie Vernon going over well in that situation.

Jackie Curtiss: Yeah, it could be tough, but I always adjusted to those problems. It worked out. Since we were both singers, Marc and I, we could do children's songs so it wasn't too hard.

Kliph Nesteroff: You were featured in a show at the Jewish nightclub Billy Gray's Band Box. You were in a show called Rocket to Laughter written by Sid Kuller and Snag Werris.

Jackie Curtiss: Snag Werris! At Billy Gray's Band Box they would do a thing that Billy wrote himself and then a parody that Sid wrote and then a sketch that Snag wrote. Snag wrote for movies and everything. He introduced me to some directors at Paramount. It's funny you bring that name up. I haven't said his name in forty years. He was a wonderful, wonderful man. He looked like Santa Claus without a beard. He didn't write for me, but he'd come over after I did something and say, "You know, Jackie, that was a great idea you had, but you ought to add something here."

Kliph Nesteroff: Comedy writers were hanging around the Band Box all the time. May 1959 - you played the Shamrock Hilton in Houston.

Jackie Curtiss: We followed Nelson Eddy in. Unbeknownst to us, whenever another act was coming into the Shamrock Hilton, they would have the performer billboard the upcoming acts. I didn't know this. I was just sitting in the audience watching the show and all of a sudden Nelson Eddy says, "Ladies and gentleman, in our audience tonight are two of the most fabulous gentleman whom you've certainly seen on The Ed Sullivan Show..." and he introduced us. We went backstage afterward and talked to him. He was very gracious.

Kliph Nesteroff: July 1959 - you were playing the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.

Jackie Curtiss: That was a very big job for Marc and I because of Tony Zoppi. He was a big writer at the Dallas Morning News. He had been the public relations man at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. He gave us our biggest boost by writing how great we were in Dallas. Because of that the crowds kept coming in to see us. While we were at the Adolphus, our opening act was Teddy Randazzo.

He was a singer who wrote some good popular songs and had a little bit of a career. There was a room upstairs at the Adolphus called the King's Club. A lot of big comics worked there. After I split up with Bill Tracy I went back and worked there four or five times. The Adolphus was a big, huge room. It was also where Marc and I met Jack Ruby.

Kliph Nesteroff: He ran a nightclub in Dallas.

Jackie Curtiss: Right, it was called the Carnival Club or something.

Kliph Nesteroff: The Carousel.

Jackie Curtiss: The Carousel, yes, that was it. That was down the street from the Adolphus. Jack came in and asked us if we wanted to come by his club. We went over there two or three times to see the shows. He introduced us to all the strippers. He was a sweet guy. He bought us drinks. He thought we were funny. He said, "Boy, I'd sure love to use you guys, but I don't think you'd take your clothes off." I said, "You're right!" So, I met Jack Ruby.

Kliph Nesteroff: What was the Carousel like?

Jackie Curtiss: The Carousel was quite a nice, little strip club. It was not funky like you might think. It was dark. Painted with black walls. Red drapes and things like that. But I gotta say, his strippers were first class. They were not scrungy in any way. They really put on a good show and a pretty arousing show. Candy Barr worked there. She came out of Dallas. There was another girl that to every beat of the music - could move a different part of her ass. I'm telling you, Kliph, it was incredible.

The control! The strippers were all very nice. Two or three of them came to see our show and we didn't even recognize them. They came dressed to the nines, not the revealing outfits we saw them wearing down the street.

Kliph Nesteroff: Did Jack Ruby use a comic to host the shows?

Jackie Curtiss: Well, he may have, I don't know. When we were there he had different guys from the band hosting. The bandleader did the introductions and then this production singer, a typical sort of guy, would sing, "The pretty girl... there she is..." They would tell a couple of jokes, but they weren't actually funny people.

Kliph Nesteroff: Not actual comics.

Jackie Curtiss: No, the guy would just come out and do a bullshit line that some guy gave him.

Kliph Nesteroff: December 1959. You guys played the Elmwood in Windsor, Ontario.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, I we got that at the same time we booked a Sullivan show for that Sunday. We flew into New York in the middle of our run at the Elmwood. Detroit was right across the river from Windsor and I went over there to be interviewed on the radio by this guy Jack Harris. There was a young girl working in Detroit, maybe at the Cork Club or something like that. She came on Jack's show in the early sixties. Her name was Barbra Streisand.

Afterward she said, "Mr. Harris, you're so great. Would you like to manage me?" He said, "Well, I don't manage anybody." Barbra Streisand asked him to manage her! She took the transcript or a tape of the show and shopped it around to different managers. It was because of those recordings that she got her big break. It was from appearing on The Jack Harris Show with his band backing her up.

It was the first time she'd done anything like that. So, she later becomes a big star. Jack was in New York and he called her manager. He said, "I'm Jack Harris. I once helped Barbra, she was on my show and..." They said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're aware of you." And it was a cold, cold, brush-off. Jack figured, "Oh, well. Just one of those things." But then he got a call later with all these apologies.

She had tickets for him to come see her show. Jack told me, "She had a bad reputation for being difficult, but I did help her and she truly never forgot it." He was instrumental in her early career without even meaning to be.

Kliph Nesteroff: He was on Radio WJR in Detroit.

Jackie Curtiss: WJR, yes, that was it. I gave Jack Harris a job when he couldn't get any work because of the whole Bing Crosby thing. Crosby kept him from working and no one would hire him. 60 Minutes did a whole piece about it.

I gave him a job hosting this pilot I made in the 1970s called Star Time Showcase. I got a lot of big name comics that were friends of mine to introduce young comedians they had "discovered." I had Dave Madden, Marty Allen, Bill Dana, Scoey Mitchell, Shecky Greene, and Louis Nye. They introduced people they supposedly "discovered" but they actually had only just met them in the green room right before the taping.

Kliph Nesteroff: What was Scoey Mitchell's act like?

Jackie Curtiss: Scoey was just another stand-up comedian, but he also produced a lot of shows. In fact, he hired me as a writer on a show for thirteen weeks. He was very good. I got a call from some guy named Powers, a disc jockey. They interviewed me on the air and one of the people he had in-studio was Scoey. You know what his act was like? He was sort of a Dick Gregory imitator. He was a pretty good stand-up. That's how he started out and then later went into acting.

Kliph Nesteroff: You did a show in April 1962 on KCOP called Time It.

Jackie Curtiss: Yes, it was a game show. The contestants had so many seconds to figure something out and give the answer. They'd show a picture and you had to guess who the person was and what they were doing. One of those type of shows. It was on for thirteen weeks. In those days you did all kinds of things. Anything to make a buck.

Kliph Nesteroff: Curtiss and Tracy were supposed to... I don't know if this happened or not... but you were supposed to record for Bob Keene at Del-Fi Records.

Jackie Curtiss: We were supposed to and we never did. We went to ERA Records instead. ERA was run by a guy who had a couple records in his drawer for years and then one day took them out and they became hits. He put out "Mule Skinner Blues" and the comic who did "Mister Custer," which was a big hit.

He was one of these hucksters around Vine Street that was around at the time, sort of a copycat guy. There were all sorts of small record labels and song pluggers and song writers near Vine Street and we all knew each other. That was one of my multiple careers. I was a singer and I did records and I had a million seller in 1959 called "Cecilia." I was just keeping busy, trying to survive.

Kliph Nesteroff: July 1959 you played Bimbo's 365 in San Francisco with the Marquis Chimps.

Jackie Curtiss: Gene Detroy and the Marquis Chimps. It really was a great act. Jack Benny made them famous. He would always have them on. The chimps were great and he was great. We went into the 365 and they had the "Girl in the Fishbowl." I don't know if you know about that. It was a famous thing.

They had this in their lobby - a fishbowl with a nude girl about four inches tall that swam around. Down below, out of sight, there was a velvet turntable and a nude girl would lay on it. They used one of these reverse lenses where if you look on one end everything is big and through the other end everything is tiny. It was a major draw for people to come to the club to see "The Girl in the Fishbowl." I had an affair with her. We'd turn out the lights and we'd make it right on that turntable. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Bimbo's 365 club still exists. 

Jackie Curtiss: When we worked it in the late 1950s they had an eighteen-piece band. The place sat around three hundred people and you got drinks from the giant bar that was right by the "Girl in the Fish Bowl." I have a picture somewhere of me with one of the chimps.

Kliph Nesteroff: Pete Barbutti told me that the chimps didn't react well to anyone who had alcohol on their breath. Barbutti said Garry Moore had a drinking problem at the time and when the monkeys came out they went crazy and tore the place apart.

Jackie Curtiss: There's also a famous story about Ed Sullivan. Clyde Beatty was the famous animal trainer of the circus. I used to have a line about him in my act: "He has a brother - Clawed Badly." When they had an animal act on the Sullivan show, everything was precise. They had big trucks outside on the street with these caged gateways so they could bring the animals straight in and keep them away from the audience.

Clyde Beatty told Ed Sullivan during the day to make sure the band doesn't play anything differently than planned, so as not to upset the animals. That night they were running long and Sullivan cut Clyde Beatty off before he was finished. Two of the cats got away and walked into the audience! They kept it hush-hush. Ed learned not do that again. It could have been a catastrophe.

Kliph Nesteroff: March 1966 you played Caesar's Palace... not in Las Vegas... but a club called Caesar's Palace in Inglewood, California - with Jimmie Rodgers.

Jackie Curtiss: Right. That was here in Los Angeles and I remember it vividly because our manager brought Duke Ellington in to meet us. That was the night I met the Duke. I sat down at his table and had a drink with him and he was the most gentle person in the world. We came over, sat down, he said, "I really like your act." I said, "Thank you, Mr. Ellington, your music..." He said, "No, please, let's not talk about what we do. Let's just enjoy our company." He was so nice and I remember it so well. That was about a month before Jimmie Rodgers got mauled by the police.

Kliph Nesteroff: You played the Aladdin in Las Vegas with Rusty Warren in July 1968.

Jackie Curtiss: It was more than that. It was also with Godfrey Cambridge, Nudes on Ice, and Little Richard. We came in toward the end of Rusty Warren's run. She had three days left and then she was gone. But we did it with Godfrey Cambridge. Nudes on Ice was really funny too. It was an ice show where nudes skated. And Little Richard was great.

Kliph Nesteroff: You played a venue in Chicago called the Scotch Mist.

Jackie Curtiss: The Scotch Mist was run by the Chicago hoods. It was Easter and the hoods put us in there. It was devastating. The doors were right behind the stage. While we were on, people were walking through our act to get to their tables. I remember saying, "I really don't want to be here." Marc said, "Where else would you want to be on Easter?" I said, "Oh, on a cross." Fortunately, everybody laughed.

We did well except for one night. That night the local critic just happened to be there and he gave us the worst review. The hoods gave us a night off and took us down the street to go see Shecky Greene perform. We went to see Shecky and the guy at the next booth had his Luger pistol right on the table.

Kliph Nesteroff: When you say the hoods "put you in"to the venue... what exactly does that mean and how did that work?

Jackie Curtiss: We were in Chicago to play a date, but the club closed. These hoods were going to come see us perform and when the club went out of business they immediately called us and said, "Don't worry. We worked it out. You're working the Scotch Mist for two weeks. They'll pay you the money you would have made at the other place." But this was not a place for acts. No comedian could have survived there. But the Boys did help you out if they liked you.

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